NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) 20030016676: The Evolution of Disks and Winds in Dwarf Nova Outbursts - FUSE
Publication date 2002-10-28
Topics NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), LUMINOSITY, DWARF NOVAE, EXTREME ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION, KINEMATICS, IONIZATION, BRIGHTNESS, ACCRETION DISKS, MOLECULAR SPECTRA, LIGHT CURVE, EMISSION SPECTRA, Long, Knox,
This project was a project to study the FUV spectra of two proto-typical dwarf novae, U Gem and SS Cygni, through an outburst cycle. The luminosity of the boundary layer in the two systems, as evidenced by earlier EUVE observations, is different in the two systems. Our intensive study of the two systems was intended to (1) probe the ionization and kinematic structure of the wind as a function of system brightness, (2) isolate the contributions of the disk to the FUV spectra, and (3) examine physical conditions and abundances of material just being accreted onto the disk from the secondary. The U Gem and SS Cyg observations took place in March and October 2000, respectively. The data obtained with FUSE was of excellent quality. Analysis of the both observations is now essentially complete, although some modeling of the SS Cyg spectra is ongoing, as we complete an ApJ manuscript on this object. Our main results for U Gem are as follows: The plateau spectra have continuum shapes and fluxes that are approximated by steady state accretion disk model spectra with an accretion rate 7x10(exp 9) Msolar/yr. The spectra also show numerous absorption lines of H I, He II, and 2-5 times ionized transitions of C, N, O, P, S, and Si. There are no emission features in the spectra, with the possible exception of a weak feature on the red wing of the 0 VI doublet. The absorption lines are narrow (FWHM approx. 50 km/s), too narrow to arise from the disk photosphere, and at low velocities (less than or equal to 700 km/s). The S VI and O VI doublets are optically thick. The absorption lines in the plateau spectra show orbital variability: in spectra obtained at orbital phases between 0.53 and 0.79, low-ionization absorption lines appear and the central depths of the preexisting lines increase. The increase in line absorption occurs at the same orbital phases as previously observed EUV and X-ray light-curve dips. If the absorbing material is in (near-) Keplerian rotation around the disk, it must be located at large disk radii. The final observation occurred when U Gem was about 2 mag from optical quiescence. The spectra are dominated by emission from an approx. 43,000 K, metal-enriched white dwarf (WD). The inferred radius of the WD is 4.95x10(exp 8) cm, close to that observed in quiescence. Allowing for a hot heated region on the surface of the WD improves the fit to the spectrum at short (less than 960 A) wavelengths. Our main results for SS Cyg are as follows: The first two of four observations of SS Cyg show disk dominated spectra with accretion rates of order 10(exp -8) Msolar/yr. Except for narrow interstellar features (atomic and molecular H), the lines are all broad consistent with a disk or wind origin. The O VI line in the spectra is mostly of wind origin as detailed modeling with our Monte Carlo code (developed in part using funds from this project) show. The continua from spectra in observations 3 and 4, observed during the decline phase, are not well fit with steady-state disks, and show considerable resemblance to quiescent spectra obtained with HUT. The most probable interpretation for the emission features seen in the spectrum in the last two observations is that they arise from a photo-illuminated choronosphere above the disk, rather than a wind.
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